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Braves trade rumors: Club seeking starting catcher

Atlanta wants catching help.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta is hoping to add a starting catcher for 2017 before the non-waiver trade deadline, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

The Braves were discussing possibilities before Tyler Flowers went down with a hand fracture, Bowman notes.

Although Milwaukee has not made clear whether Jonathan Lucroy is available, he will likely be one of the better starting catchers on the market. The Braves have been linked to Lucroy in the past and reportedly were among the clubs interested last winter.

Lucroy, 30, is having a productive season with the Brewers, batting .303/.360/.488 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs. If the Braves are able to get a deal in place, they might have to do so with confidence they can extend Lucroy, who is eligible to be a free agent after next season.

Flowers’ injury leaves Atlanta with limited catching depth. A.J. Pierzynski and Anthony Recker, who was recently called upon from Triple-A, are expected to see time behind the plate for the Braves.

George Kottaras signed a minor league deal with the Braves, our Chris Cotillo reported, giving the club some depth.

It’s unlikely the Braves are aggressive in their pursuit of catching, since Flowers was batting .253/.343/.425 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs before going down. Flowers is also under contract for next season and has a club option for 2018.

There aren’t many controllable starting catchers expected to be available, with Derek Norris, Welington Castillo and Brian McCann among those under control through 2017.

Since Atlanta is rebuilding as it prepares to open its new stadium next season, it’s unlikely the club adds much to its roster. However, if a catcher is available at a reasonable price, the Braves will likely take advantage of the opportunity.